IPCC Working Group 2 report published

And what a fascinating report it is, too!

Not so much for the content, perhaps, as for the furore kicked up about it. I’ve just read the Summary for Policymakers and I’m working my way through the full report (2 volumes, 30 chapters, plus various ancillary bits and pieces….. it’ll keep me occupied for most of the next week, I think!).

I was expecting some kind of drama, following on from last week’s resignation by one of the lead authors (Dr Richard Tol) on the grounds that the report was “too alarmist”. Strangely, a lot of the contrarian blogs and websites appear to imput the royal plural to Dr Tol, citing “scientists” rather than “a scientist” disagreeing with the report.

Earlier today a conspiracy theorist of my acquaintance cited the report as proof that the IPCC wants to forcibly reduce world population. (How, with only 12 employees, is the IPCC supposed to achieve this bizarre aim?? CT is silent on this.)

I’m bewildered. I’ve just read the summary and it’s just a risk assessment. I’ve ploughed through 12 of 30 chapters of the full report and all I can see is discussion of previously published research, risk assessment and concern for the various vulnerable sectors of the population in vulnerable areas. The only statement I’ve seen so far that puts any kind of value judgement anywhere is a one-line comment that education can be considered a public good.

Are we reading the same report??

I don’t see anything “alarmist” in the report so far – alarming, certainly, but also positive, offering hope for strategies to adapt to the changing climate and reduce those risks.

I’m very grateful to those 12 employees and over 400 authors and contributors for their efforts in compiling the most thorough risk assessment for climate change to date. I’m looking forward to when the report for Working Group III comes out, because that’s the one on mitigation.



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